Box up your leftovers – Renee G

Modern society has warped the origins of Boxing Day into something ironically opposite to the initial purpose.

On Boxing Day, the people at the ‘big house’ (the aristocracy) would box up their leftovers and give them to servants, tradespeople and charities.

Rather than giving, today, Boxing Day is all about getting. Retail shops go a bit mad on Boxing Day having sales with dramatic price reductions to clear out stock. Somehow as more people have more access to more wealth, we use Boxing Day to grab more stuff for ourselves. As if we didn’t get enough gifts just the day before on Christmas Day. Advertisements entice everyone to go out and get more. As a society we have stopped giving and started grabbing.

It isn’t a very healthy approach to life. A study done way back in 1992 by Richins and Dawson found that poor self-esteem and high consumerism are highly connected via a nasty vicious cycle. People who use material possessions as a coping strategy for low self-worth never have enough stuff to attain that elusive happiness. Basically, people chase more income to get more stuff. Stuff that they believe will make them happier, but actually only gives them a quick hit before fading back to insecurity.

So how do you break the cycle? Our family believes that we should go back to the original version of Boxing Day. Spend part of the day putting together boxes that can be donated to charity. Many families do a pre-Xmas clean out to make space for new things. A good idea but not always easy for kids to connect that clean out with Xmas gifts. By using the old meaning of Boxing Day, the sense of giving is immediately connected to the prior day’s receiving.

Of course, we aren’t running a gigantic English mansion with all the dependents that they had, so the chosen charities are less connected to our daily lives. Regardless of the specifics, the concept of Boxing Day is a good one and surely it is worth finding some time immediately after Xmas to give something to those who are less fortunate than yourself. After all, if you live in a house and have access to the internet, you are wealthier than half of the world’s population. Be grateful and take a moment from those in the big house to give a little to someone else.

While you are thinking charitably, why not use up that leftover turkey for these delicious filo rolls for lunch? This recipe uses the leftovers from my Xmas turkey recipe. You can use the recipe for any type of leftovers, the principle remains the same regardless of the ingredients.

Leftover turkey rolls
Leftover turkey rolls

Turkey Filo Rolls

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • Filo Pastry and butter (or if you want to save some time, use store bought puff pastry)
  • Leftover turkey
  • Leftover carrots
  • Water
  • Flour

Put the turkey drumsticks into a big pot and just cover with water. Boil until the meat falls off the bone (approx. 30 minutes). Pour the water through a sieve into a big bowl so that the sieve catches all the turkey and bones. Remove the sieve and pour the water/stock back into the pot. Place the sieve back over the bowl and sort through the contents, keeping the meat and throwing away the bones.

Place the pot of stock back on the stove and bring it back up to a boil. Add a small handful of flour to the stock in the pot, and whisk it until the lumps are gone and the stock thickens into gravy. Add back in the turkey meat, and throw in some chopped carrots (the ones from the salad are good), as well as any other leftovers you might have. Some rocket, spinach or bok choy is good to add greens, as are the roast potatoes (but chopped up into smaller pieces). Turn down the heat and let it cook down (this means simmer it without a lid so the water can evaporate) until the gravy is nice and thick.

While it is cooking down, make the filo pastry. The instructions are on the packet, but basically you brush melted butter on each sheet and stick them together. Create a few layers for each parcel.

For each parcel, take your filo pastry and place some of the turkey gravy mixture onto the pastry. Roll it up, similar to a spring roll, by folding in the edges, then rolling into a cylinder shape. Repeat for each person.

Bake in an 180oC oven for about 15 minutes until the pastry is nicely brown. The filling is already cooked and hot, so only the pastry requires cooking.


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